Guest blogger, Holly Beale, is an Energy Analyst at Microsoft. She was part of the team of Microsoft employees who volunteered at Evergreen Alliance as part of United Way’s Day of Caring.
What do an Office Information and Content Experience (ICE) manager, a USB Driver Developer, and an Energy Analyst have in common? They like to get outside, get dirty, and contribute their time to community development projects in Seattle. Along with these three, around 40 total Microsoft employees worked with the nonprofit group Evergreen Alliance on Friday, September 23rd moving rocks, shoveling dirt, and sawing trees. This work was organized through United Way’s “Day of Caring,” a day each year where Microsoft, along with several other companies in the Seattle area, allow their employees the day away from the office to show they care about their communities.
The contributions of this group were in an effort to preserve and improve biking trails at Tiger Mountain, a popular hiking, biking, and equestrian area about 40 minutes outside of Seattle. The Evergreen Alliance maintains trails all over the state, and has put in significant planning and efforts into the maintenance of Tiger Mountain trails. With the help of groups like Microsoft, in the past 2 years, Evergreen has been able to open the trails to bikers year-round, which was previously impossible due to wear of the trails caused by bikes on the ever-soggy ground characteristic of Pacific Northwest winters that we all know and love so well.
With the weather a cheerful grey with light drizzle all day and chilly temperatures, the teams happily went about their work with shovels, saws, and Pulaskis. In several teams working on different sections of the routes, they made numerous improvements that will improve rideability, reduce erosion, and provide for a more enjoyable experience for all. They gained an appreciation of the work that goes into trail maintenance, and got much gratitude from the bikers passing through throughout the day. Everyone was grateful to Microsoft for allowing their employees the day away from the office to show that they care and to United Way for the opportunity to be part of Day of Caring!